On September 10, 2019, The Master’s Seminary held the third annual Dr. Robert L. Thomas Memorial Lecture on Bible Translation as an expression of gratitude and an encouragement for the next generation.
When Dr. Thomas passed away on Wednesday, September 6, 2017, The Master’s Seminary established the annual lecture series to honor this founding member of the faculty.
At the third annual lecture on September 10th, most of the current students had only heard of Dr. Thomas as the renowned and beloved professor of New Testament. But many held his most influential contribution in their hands.
Beginning in 1960, Dr. Thomas was part of the team that translated the New American Standard Bible (NASB). He served first as one of the New Testament translators, and then was asked to help coordinate the translation of the Old Testament. After a decade of work, the NASB was published in 1971.
He loved The Master’s Seminary
Dr. Thomas is better known, though, as a New Testament scholar. He taught for 50 years, from 1959 to 2009, first at Talbot and then at The Master’s Seminary. Dr. Thomas’ academic accomplishments during those years are noteworthy. He published numerous articles and books, including a two-volume commentary on Revelation.
After welcoming everyone to the Dr. Thomas Memorial Lecture, Dr. Aaron Shryock, director of the Tyndale Center for Bible Translation at The Master’s Seminary, welcomed Dr. William Barrick to deliver the lecture. Dr. Barrick presented a lecture on the challenges of translating metaphors in the Old Testament.
It was fitting that Dr. Barrick presented the lecture. In addition to teaching alongside Dr. Thomas at TMS for eleven years, Dr. Barrick likewise devoted many years to translation work. He was the Old Testament consultant for the Bengali Bible and contributed to work in five other languages as well.
Dr. Barrick was not the only guest with a special relationship to the late Dr. Thomas. Pastor Jason Erselius, Dr. Thomas’ grandson, was present representing the Thomas family.
Reflecting on his grandfather, Pastor Erselius shared, “He loved The Master’s Seminary. He was so thankful to be a part of the faculty here.”
After the lecture, Dr. Barrick, Pastor Erselius, and others from the seminary faculty and staff gathered for a lunch to further honor the memory of Dr. Thomas. Dr. Barrick spoke more and answered questions about missions and translation.
Each fall, the seminary will look forward to the Dr. Robert L. Thomas Memorial Lecture in Bible Translation. “We hope that this series will be an occasion to remember Dr. Thomas and to praise the Lord for the many ways He used this faithful servant for His glory,” Dr. Shryock explained.